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Michelin-Starred Albi Adds a Dreamy New Den for Sweets and Arak Service

Navy Yard’s new Saha serves 18 walk-in guests at a time

Saha swings open next to Albi with a familiar lineup of desserts and cocktails.
Rey Lopez for Saha
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Albi, Navy Yard’s coal-fired Middle Eastern marvel from decorated chef Michael Rafidi, just grew with the addition of a chic cocktail-and-dessert lounge it’s calling Saha.

Saha welcomes up 18 walk-ins at a time.
Rey Lopez for Saha

The first-come, first-serve counterpart, which means “cheers” in Arabic, sits in a newly renovated space that formerly functioned as 3-year-old Albi’s private dining room. The wood-framed extension is especially significant for fans of the high-end, Resy-enabled Levantine restaurant, which largely limits walk-ins to its 11-seat bar. Saha caters to folks stopping in for just a drink and bite, or those grabbing glass of wine before their next-door reservation (or an after-dinner dessert). Hours follow that of Albi’s: Tuesday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (1346 4th Street SE).

Tableside arak service is one of Saha’s starring attractions.
Rey Lopez for Saha
Transportive design elements include communal seating wrapped in fabrics and wicker ottomans.
Rey Lopez for Saha

Saha exclusively showcases Albi’s full bar and dessert menus. Arak, the popular Middle Eastern distilled spirit with cooling notes of anise and licorice, takes center stage at Saha with eight to 10 selections from Lebanon and Palestine.

“No Sleep ‘Til Beirut” swings sweet.
Rey Lopez for Saha

Other liquid highlights include the “No Sleep ‘Til Beirut” dessert drink made with coconut rum, Turkish coffee, orgeat, and amaro nonino; crowd-pleasing Za’atar-tini; Halab margarita (rhubarb, lime, sumac-pepper liqueur); and hard-to-find Eastern Mediterranean wines. Decadent desserts include labneh and tahini soft serve in gorgeous glassware, shareable brown butter knafeh, and small bites like cinnamon-walnut baklawa, strawberry-rose Turkish delight, and orange-date ma’amoul.

The casual new drinking den offers a small taste of what’s in store at La’ Shukran, Rafidi’s funky, high-energy rooftop oasis coming to the Union Market district this year. Situated above his incoming headquarters for sibling cafe Yellow, the 80-seat party pad will feature a bar fueled on Levantine wines and arak along with late-night DJs spinning Middle Eastern music.

Saha’s stylish setup features low-level seating surrounded with leafy palms.
Rey Lopez for Saha

Meanwhile, Rafidi’s savory selection of a la carte and multi-course options prepared over a wood-burning hearth continue to reside at Albi only. Rafidi, this year’s sole area James Beard Awards finalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic, is known for his snack-sized lamb kefta kebabs speared on cinnamon sticks, pita with spreads, and chermoula black bass. For the June edition of Albi’s guest chef series Habibi Sofra Club last weekend, Rafidi collaborated with Oyster Oyster’s Rob Rubba on a vegetarian feast — just days after the Shaw chef took home the top James Beard Awards title of best chef in the country.

Small mosaic-tiled tables play host to an array of sweet and sippers.
Rey Lopez for Saha


1346 4th Street Southeast, , DC 20003 (202) 921-9592 Visit Website